An outspoken Labour MP has called for ONE MILLION people to take to the streets in a mass protest against Tory austerity cuts.
Writing on his blog, Michael Meacher said that the ‘250,000’ strong protests which took place last weekend were a “very good start”, but added that “it needs to be followed through with ever bigger demos over the next few months”.
Mr Meacher said “you can always tell when the Establishment is worried”, because the majority of right-wing newspapers choose not to report protests against the Tories.
The right-wing media normally only report these events “if scuffles or violence takes place”, said Mr Meacher. Suggesting that they were waiting for a way to discredit and demonise those people who attended.
He added that, “if the pressure continues and grows bigger still, government takes notice and behind the scenes begins to backtrack”.
Another quick round-up:
The warehouse workers who’ve been organising in West London want to hit the road and talk to other workers in big warehouse hubs across the country, as well as organising film screenings of a new documentary about struggles by warehouse workers in Italy. If you’d like to get in touch about an event in your town, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Freedom Riders, the group of pensioners and disabled people who’ve been taking direct action against transport cuts in South Yorkshire with mass fare-dodging actions, have been going strong for a year now, and celebrated their first anniversary with a demonstration in Barnsley on Tuesday 31st. They’ve produced a two-sided leaflet to explain the story so far in their fight for free travel on both trains and buses.
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Another quick round-up of news across a few different areas:
In repression news, five water charge protesters are still in jail in Ireland for protesting against water meter installations. I’ve not been able to find any addresses to write to the five in jail, but I’ll keep looking. In the mean time, the movement’s not taken this attack lying down, with a fresh wave of angry protests in response, as well as ongoing resistance preventing water meters from being installed. It’s difficult keeping up with the myriad of facebook pages reporting on what seems to be a genuinely decentralised movement, but Release the Water Warriors NOW seems to be the main campaign for the release of the five, and the Workers’ Solidarity Movement continue to provide ongoing reporting from an anarchist perspective. Meanwhile, closer to home, the ongoing police crackdown on anarchists in Bristol has resulted in its…
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It’s been a few weeks since I did a proper news round-up. While there’s not been that much in the way of big, attention-grabbing stories, there’s still a multitude of local struggles going on up and down the country, so I’d like to try and highlight a few of those.
But first, a brief bit of international news. The South African farmworkers’ union, CSAAWU, was recently hit with an incredibly punitive court order forcing them to pay R600,000 (that’s $54,800 or £3,3400), which could well bankrupt them, so it’s good to report that, thanks to international solidarity, they’ve hit their first target of raising $10,000. There’s a long way still to go, but it’s clear that they’re not beaten yet. Meanwhile in Spain, the seven anarchists being held without trial as part of Operation Pandora have been released on bail, although there are still charges against them, and…
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So, another year has come and gone. To be honest, it’s not really been a great one, overall: on an international level, the wave of revolt that rolled around the world in 2010-12 feels like it’s still rolling back, with most of the struggles that broke out having been contained one way or another. In particular, something that’s been vividly illustrated over the last few years is the dangers of a popular revolt being turned into a military struggle: from Syria to Ukraine, we’ve seen how tragic the results can be when widespread anger against an unpopular regime can be captured and channelled into nationalist directions, especially when wider imperialist forces are involved.
In the UK, I don’t think there’s been many big, definitive moments that sum up the year as a whole: just like in 2013, life for most people has mostly continued gradually getting worse, and my real…
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Protests have been taking place across the country against the Government’s controversial plan to sell off the East Coast Main Line.
Campaigners gathered at stations up and down the line – including York, Durham and Newcastle – to greet travellers and press home their argument.
The protest by Action for Rail was deliberately timed to co-incide with the beginning of the Liberal-Democrats’ spring conference in York this weekend.
The campaign, backed by the TUC and railway unions, is fighting the Government’s proposals to re-privatise the route – the only remaining publicly-owned railway in the UK.
It has been in public ownership since 2009, after two previous private train operators were forced to bail out of the franchise for financial reasons.
But last October ministers announced plans to re-privatise the line and more than 60 MPs have since signed an early day motion calling on the government to keep the line public.
The campaigners argue that Directly Operated Railways – the public operator of the line – has achieved record levels of customer satisfaction and provided the highest returns to the taxpayer while receiving the lowest public subsidy among all the train companies.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Privatising the East Coast defies all logic. Since it was re-nationalised the line has gone from strength to strength.
“This decision shows the government is clinging on to its outdated faith in privatisation at all costs and is determined to remain blind to the fact that public ownership has been a success for taxpayers and passengers alike.”
Source – Northern Echo, 07 March 2014
Despite grassroots protests, including occupation of threatened buildings, by Hands Off Sunderland Libraries, nine libraries across Sunderland have been closed by the city council, in a bid to save 850,000 pounds.
The libraries affected are those at Doxford Park, Easington Lane, East Herrington, Fence Houses, Hendon, Monkwearmouth, Silksworth, Southwick and Washington Green.
Coun. John Kelly, portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture: “This is a very emotive subject and we recognise the strength of people’s feelings.
“As I’ve said before, we probably wouldn’t have gone down this route if the council didn’t need to make 110 million pounds savings as a result of cuts from central government. The fact is the library service needs to save 850,000 pounds, so we have had to look at changing how we do things as budgets continue to be cut and resources become ever more stretched.
“As councillors, we have to make difficult decisions . Had savings not been made here, they may have had to fall on children’s or adults services.
“But I firmly believe that the new library service will be much more flexible to fit in with people’s needs and will result in better services reaching more people across a wider range of locations.”
Eh ? How does closing public services across a wide range of locations reach more people across those same locations ? I suspect the only flexibility resulting will be the closed service users, who’ll have to be a lot more flexible to find an open library.
How much will be saved really ? Has any account been taken of vacant buildings needing to be maintained, books and equipment to be mothballed, staff who lose their jobs ?
“Had savings not been made here, they may have had to fall on children’s or adults services.” A nice attempt at emotional blackmail, but what exactly are libraries if not children and adult services ?
And should it be either/or anyway ? We know only too well about the nature of the current national government, but Sunderland City Council is Labour controlled. Shouldn’t they – and other Labour controlled councils – be providing, you know, opposition ? Getting together and going head-to-head with the government perhaps ? Making a moral stand ?
We’ve been promised years more austerity, whoever wins the next general election. Now the process has been started, which libraries will be next ?
As noted in no less an organ than Private Eye (#1349) –
Sunderland library chiefs have some handy advice on what can replace local libraries facing closure.
“Because of Facebook, because of gadgets, we dont need libraries the way we used to when I was 15,” Cllr Graeme Miller told a public meeting, which agreed proposals for the closure of nine libraries to save #850,000 a year.
Quite apart from how completely un-useful Facebook is for most homework, research or reading for pleasure, Sunderland is part of the UK region with the highest concentration of people off-line, with a recent survey finding only 42% of less well off people in the city had online access from any type of “gadget”, including computers, smart phones and so on.
Hands Off Sunderland Libraries on Facebook at –